Mycotoxin from the Greek μύκης mykes, “fungus” and τοξίνη toxini, “toxin”. (1) They are some of the most common toxins in our environment that may lead to serious health problems, including mycotoxin allergy, immune system issues, inflammation, and cancer. They are toxic compounds that are naturally found in specific types of fungi-like mold. They may lead to uncomfortable acute and chronic symptoms, a compromised immune system, and serious health problems. It is absolutely crucial that you detoxify your body from mycotoxins and control mycotoxins exposure in your life.
Recent research on Crohn’s disease has focused a lot on bacteria, but a new study has concluded that fungus is a factor in developing the inflammatory bowel disease. This study shows the bacteria, Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens, and one fungus, Candida tropicalis, work together when E. coli cells join with the fungal cells and S. marcescens to generate a biofilm. That biofilm can trigger inflammation and Crohn’s symptoms. According to estimates, about 780,000 Americans have Crohn’s disease. Researchers also noted that beneficial bacteria were lower in Crohn’s patients than in their healthy relatives. Fungi have already been linked to Crohn’s in humans, but this study is the first one to include S. marcescens in the Crohn’s-linked bacteriome, or network of bacteria.
Virtually every neurological disease has been associated with mycotoxin exposure: autism, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. There is a strong association between mycotoxin exposure and cancers, especially liver and kidney cancers. Diseases and symptoms linked to mycotoxin exposure include fever, pneumonia-like symptoms, heart disease, rheumatic disease, asthma, sinusitis, nose bleeding, cancer, memory loss, vision loss, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, depression, ADHD, anxiety, and liver damage. A study of patients with chronic fatigue found that all the patients had high levels of mycotoxins in the urine.
Mycotoxins also increase inflammatory cytokines in the body. This leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with liver disorders. Research also suggests a link between mycotoxin exposure and elevated liver enzymes. The chronic inflammation that comes with mold illness also overloads the liver, increasing your risk of insulin resistance. Plus, when your liver is burdened with mycotoxins, this damages your mitochondria, causing negative effects on your appetite and energy production.
If you’re one of the unlucky 25% with the HLA-DR gene, then your body doesn’t produce antibodies against mycotoxins. This gene is also has a positive relationship to the MTHFR gene.
Instead, for those that struggle with detox, mycotoxins go through something called ‘enterohepatic recirculation.’ That means that rather than being safely ushered out of the body, they keep recirculating, causing mayhem in the process.
It is important to know that mycotoxins are chemically stable and are able to survive food processing. This means that you may not be safe from mycotoxins when buying or eating processed or packaged foods. Exposure to mold may lead to mycotoxin allergy, sensitivity, or a variety of unwanted symptoms. People who are sensitive or allergic to mycotoxins may experience allergic reactions when inhaling mold or mold spores. (2)
Foods Highest in Mycotoxins
One of the most common, yet sometimes unexpected ways to encounter mycotoxins is through food. Crops that are frequently affected by Aspergillus spp. include cereals (corn, sorghum, wheat and rice), oilseeds (soybean, peanut, sunflower and cotton seeds), spices (chili peppers, black pepper, coriander, turmeric and ginger) and tree nuts (pistachio, almond, walnut, coconut and Brazil nut).
The toxins can also be found in the milk of animals that are fed contaminated feed, in the form of aflatoxin M1. Large doses of aflatoxins can lead to acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis) and can be life threatening, usually through damage to the liver. Aflatoxins have also been shown to be genotoxic, meaning they can damage DNA and cause cancer in animal species. There is also evidence that they can cause liver cancer in humans. Here is a list of foods that are the highest in mycotoxins (3):
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sugar cane
- Sugar beets
- Hard cheeses
- Soybean Products
You can request mold testing from your primary care physician, or I can run them for you.
Now to get rid of them…
First, let’s start with a low mycotoxin diet to help prevent mycotoxins from growing inside your body while simultaneously helping to detox your system and restore nutrient deficiencies.
Foods To Avoid:
- Nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, and pecans
- Cheese and sour milk products, such as sour cream, buttermilk, and hard cheeses
- Peanuts, beans and peas
- Dried fruits, such as dates, raisins, prunes, figs, and apricots
- Grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and rice
- Packaged and smoked meats, such as smoked fish, ham, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, corned beef, and deli meat
- Edible fungi, such as mushrooms and truffles
- Alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, cider, rum, gin, brandy, and whiskey
- Most types of coffee and chocolate
- Seeds such as quinoa, flax, hemp, pumpkin, chia
- Grain fed meats, because the animals are typically ingesting grains that are full of mycotoxins
- Sources of sugar, including table sugar, glucose, fructose, lactose, honey, maple syrup, molasses, sorbitol, mannitol, candy, and baked goods
- High-glycemic index fruits, such as mangoes, bananas, grapes, oranges, and melons
- Fruits that have a higher risk of mycotoxicity, such as apples and grapes
- Packaged and processed foods, including canned baked beans, canned soups, canned food in general, ready-made sauces, ready-made meals, breakfast cereals, and frozen foods
- Bottled drinks, including soft drinks, fruit juices, sodas
- Condiments, including pickles, relish, mustard, soy sauce, mayonnaise, and vinegar
You are probably wondering what you CAN eat! I suggest following an anti-inflammatory diet, there are many places to find recipes, I can help you set up a nutrition plan!
30-Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan
Here is an easy list to follow for your grocery trips, now that you are making real changes for your health:
- Think organic!
- High starch root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, squash and pumpkin
- Low-sugar fruits, such as berries, pears, and peaches. Be sure to avoid any that have mold growing on them.
- Pasture-raised, organic poultry, including chicken, turkey, quail, and pheasant.
- Wild-caught fish, including salmon, sardines, anchovy, tuna catfish, and herring.
- Grass-fed, organic meat, such as ground beef, beef cuts, lamb, goat, and veal
- Leafy greens, including spinach, romaine, kale, collard greens, and cabbage.
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, cucumbers, onion, garlic, carrots, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts
- Herbs and spices, such as turmeric, ginger, mint, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, horseradish, tarragon, and Himalayan salt
- Healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, coconut milk, organic butter and ghee, and extra virgin olive oil
- Beverages: distilled/filtered water, mineral water, herbal tea, fresh green juices, and fresh green smoothies
Think about adding mushrooms to your diet or supplement regimen. Mushrooms are superfoods that have been used for thousands of years for their nutritional and medicinal value and are a valued element of the autoimmune diet. They are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds such as polysaccharides, phenolic and indolic compounds, mycosteroids, fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamins (4). Metabolites from mushrooms have antioxidant, anticancer, and most significantly, anti-inflammatory properties. that strengthen and balance the immune system. Mushrooms contain a number of polysaccharides including beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a powerful immune stimulating compound that binds to the surface of innate immune cells. This reduces the tendency towards autoimmune reactions and hyperinflammatory activity when the body is under attack. (5)
Carminative herbs are herbs that help to improve digestion, prevent the formation of gas in the intestinal tract, and remove gas from the digestive tract, to soothe the gut, modulate intestinal contractions, and stimulate bile flow.
Some great examples of carminative herbs are arugula, basil, black pepper, cilantro, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, sage, fennel, thyme, and turmeric. Carminative herbs contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory effects. Great ways to use carminatives are in herbal teas, essential oils, fresh herbs, in juices, fermented vegetables and drinks. Many of these can also be found in here they are food grade quality essential oils, safe for ingestion.
It is important to be aware of the foods you are eating and your living environment and to learn about mycotoxins.
- Support your liver to raise glutathione levels, this can also be done through IV Chelation!
- Think clean air! Look into Ozone therapy.
- Keep mold cleaned out properly in your home.
- Come in for a homeopathic evaluation to get on a Mold Detox
Hydration Strategies To Support Proper Mycotoxin Detox
Make sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of distilled water a day. Drink more if you exercise a lot, if it’s hot outside, if you are sick, or you feel thirsty. To enhance the detoxification process and encourage an alkaline environment for healing, you may add some lemon or lime to your water as well. On top of your water intake, you may add some herbal tea, green juices, green smoothies, and hydrating fruits and veggies for extra hydration.
Doing a noninvasive biofeedback can help identify if you have been exposed to mycotoxins.
One of the easiest ways I can help clients along with changing their food habits, is with zeolite Clinoptilolite. It’s been discovered that zeolite can very effectively pull out of our bodies the harmful toxicity that has accumulated over the years, including toxic molds that put off mycotoxins, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, bacteria, viruses and even other minor mold allergens (non-mycotoxigenic molds). Zeolite is not just good at binding to toxic mold spores and mycotoxins or heavy metals such as mercury from the body, but also cadmium, nickel, arsenic and a whole host of toxic substances. Zeolite (clinoptilolite) incorporated into the diet may be effective in fighting mycotoxins by direct absorption. Affinity toward aflatoxins, zearalenone, ochratoxin, and the T2 toxin was proven in vitro in the presence of amino acids and vitamins, where the latter were not absorbed by the clinoptilolite material (8). The specificity for aflatoxin M1 was also shown in vivo, and the dietary administration of clinoptilolite, especially of the material with the smallest particle size at the rate of 200 g per cow per a day, effectively reduced milk aflatoxin M1 concentration in dairy cattle (9). Learn more about where to get Zeolite Clinoptilolite.
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- myco-. Index. (n.d.). https://www.etymonline.com/word/myco-#etymonline_v_45180.
- M;, B. J. W. K. (n.d.). Mycotoxins. Clinical microbiology reviews. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12857779/.
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). Mycotoxins. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins.
- Muszyńska, B., Grzywacz-Kisielewska, A., Kała, K., & Gdula-Argasińska, J. (2017, September 30). Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review. Food Chemistry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814617316205.
- The Truth Behind Polysaccharides in Medicinal Mushrooms. Real Mushrooms. (2021, May 3). https://www.realmushrooms.com/polysaccharides-mushrooms-poor-quality-measurement/.
- 6. 6 Carminative Herbs that Help You Get Rid of Gas. Step To Health. (2019, December 15). https://steptohealth.com/6-carminative-herbs-help-get-rid-gas/.
- Carminative Herbs. Herbpathy. (n.d.). https://herbpathy.com/Action-of-Carminative-Cid8.
- Kraljević Pavelić, S., Simović Medica, J., Gumbarević, D., Filošević, A., Pržulj, N., & Pavelić, K. (2018, November 27). Critical Review on Zeolite Clinoptilolite Safety and Medical Applications in vivo. Frontiers in pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277462/#B128.
- Kraljević Pavelić, S., Simović Medica, J., Gumbarević, D., Filošević, A., Pržulj, N., & Pavelić, K. (2018, November 27). Critical Review on Zeolite Clinoptilolite Safety and Medical Applications in vivo. Frontiers in pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6277462/#B65.